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Timeline

"The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves." -John Connor

Trying to understand. the Terminator series timeline can be complicated, confused and downright frustrating.  The problem most people have is they are trying to include every piece of Terminator canon into a single timeline, when that is not only infeasible but also not what the material tells us is right ("we can change it, there is no fate but what we make for ourselves" -Sarah Connor in Terminator).  An example of this "One Timeline" that includes pre-destination loops is shown to the right.  

Due to Terminator's time travel element, the past, present and future is constantly changing resulting in multiple timelines.  A better, more accurate and correct (according to quotes and references in the films) is shown below in a couple of formats.

Unlike "Back to the Future" when a future is altered the time travel (usually) doesn't disappear, instead the future is just changed. Other websites have visually done a great job of showing this multiple timeline universe. Here are some examples that add clarity.

Of note, SPOILERS below for both movies and comics.  If you want chronology of movie/comics without spoilers look at the Reviews section that is spoiler free.

There are a couple of major items that are consistent across all timelines:
1. Humans will develop artificial intelligence at some point whether it is called Skynet, Genisys, Legion or something else.
2. Humans will lose control of the AI resulting in a form of Judgement Day.
3. Humans will resist and fight back against the machines.
4. A leader will emerge to help us whether his name is John Connor, Jane Connor, Dani Ramos or something else.
5. Someone (humans or machines) will develop time travel resulting in a constant adjustment of all four of the above details but 1-4 will always remain true.

Below is a simple version of the timelines using only film canon which is color coded to show when timelines change and stay the same between each other.

A more intricate version of the above is shown below which includes dates.
If that's not confusing enough, that is just the film canon and doesn't include all the data from the comic books, books, video games and more. 
Even though the multiple timelines is more accurate, we consolidated the infromation of them into a single chronological listing of the events below because it makes it easier to understand.  This includes information from both comics and video games. 

Abbreviations for below are as follows:
T0: Original unaltered time travel timeline
ALL: Common to all timelines except T0.
T1: Terminator 1's timeline
T1A: Terminator 1 timeline plus expanded material from comics with Jane Connor as Sarah's child
T1B: Alternate 90s timeline in which John Connor wasn't hunted by Terminators until 1998
T1C: Terminator Future Shock Video Game Timeline
T1D: RoboCop versus Terminator Timeline
T2: Terminator 2's timeline
T2A: Sarah Connor Chronicles events plus first two films
T2B: T2 timeline plus 2029-1984 Comic series
T2C: First two films plus Dawn of Fate Video Game
T3: Terminator 3's timeline
T3A: Terminator 3 branch based off the events of Terminator: Infinity comic
T4: Terminator 4's timeline
T5: Terminator 5's timeline
T6: Terminator 6's timeline

1900s

     T2A: T-888 accidentally travels to 19XX in an error (Sarah Connor Chronicles)

1950s

1955     
      T1A: Ellis Ruggles arrives from a T1 future protect her birth in the event a Terminator is sent back to kill her.  No terminator is sent back so he gets a job in the police force and continues to monitor her from a far (T: One Shot / T: Omnibus)
1959
     ALL: 1959- Sarah Connor is born

1970s

1973
     T5: Pops (T-800) returns to defend Sarah Connor (T5: Genisys)

1980s

1984
     T1/T2/T3/T4/T6: Events of Terminator (Terminator, T2: Judgment Day, T3: Rise of the Machines, T4: Salvation)
     T5: Alternate version of 1984 with "Pops" Sarah's Guardian (T5: Genisys)
     T1A: Female T800 returns to kill (a different) Sarah Connor.  As a cop and good citizen, Ellis Ruggles attempts to protect her.  He does but ultiamately dies sinking to the bottom of the ocean with the T800 and (bad) Sarah Connor. (T: One Shot / T: Omnibus)
 
    T0: Sarah Connor is impregnated by unknown male.
    ALL but T0: Sarah Connor impregnated by Kyle Reese.

     T1A: NYPD Cop Lucy Castro and her unborn daughter are targeted by a T-800 from the future.  Lucy teams up with low life criminals in an attempt to save her own life and her future child.  Ultimately the T-800 is sunk to the bottom of the ocean after being crushed by a bulldozer (T: Sector War)
    T1A:  While Sarah Connor is still pregnant, 5x resistance fighters return including:
                 1. Colonel Mary Randall (leader)
                 2. Raul- shot + blown up by own pipe bombs while fighting a T-800
                 3. Bart- neck snapped by male T-800 C890.L
                 4. Naomi- shot by male T800 HC875.S
                 5. Alan- shot in half fighting T800
           Three T-800s and Cyborg are sent back:
                            T800 black male- HC875.S  pipe bomb by Bart, pipe bomb again and sunk in car over a bridge 
                            T800 while male- C890.L pipe bomb and sunk but returns in secondary objectives  
                            T800 female- C850.D shot by medic 
                            Cyborg medic- 1825.M (Dudley)
          Skynet developed by:
                   Dr. Bertram Hollister- original skynet creator survives gets mailed T800 skull 
                   Dr. Edwin “Ed” Astin- Hollisters assistant
         (T: Tempest / T: Omnibus Vol 1)

     T1A: Z000.M female terminator returns from the future
            C890.L reprogrammed by Dudley after electrocuted
            Two terminator fight and blown up in gas leak
           C890.L survives but no legs and uses Z000.M parts for repair 

         (T: Secondary Objectives / T: Omnibus Vol 1)


     T1A: 4x resistance go back (CPT Emmers, Hooks, male, female) and kill Hollister. 
              C890.L kills entire team plus Dudley 
              Mary kills C890.L with grenade launcher into acid bath 
              Ed Astin- steals Dudley's brain Data and continues Terminator development

     T1A: May: Police officer Sloane kills intel officer Lockhurst who wanted to sell T secrets 
            October 1: T800 comes back in Tundra 
            October 2: Dudley blows himself up because machine part of him is taking control after his human side seemed dead for a couple of weeks 
            October 3: Mary and sloane delete Sarah Connor hospital records 
            October 4: Jane Connor is born future leader of resistance. Mary and Sloane Survive. T800 disappears when baby is born. 

   T2B: Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor reunited, with the help of resistance/time traveler Ben destroy remnants of original T-800 Model 101 but fail to destroy the brain chip and a single arm as shown in Terminator 2 (T: 2029-1984)
1985
   T1A: The enemy of my enemy- NY- T800 sent to kill Dr. Elise Fong.  Ex-CIA Operative Farrow Greene is working as a bounty hunter is also looking for Dr. Fong.  After unsuccessful attempts by both of them the T-800 and Farrow team up to find her.  Ultimately, Farrow kills the T-800 by tying it to train tracks and letting a train destroy it (T: The Enemy of My Enemy)
   ALL: John Connor born (T2: Judgment Day)

1990s

1990s
     The engineer goes back in time to build time machine and place plasma rifle in bank vault. (Sarah Connor Chronicles)

1994
   T3: Sarah Connor diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live but lives for another three years(T3: Rise of the Machines)

1995
   T2:  Events including death of Miles Dyson, destruction of Cyberdyne building and destroying chip/hand from T1 (Terminator 2)
  T1C: Judgment Day (T: Future Shock VG)

1996     
   T2: Opening of events of T2 Battle Across Time (T2: Battle Across Time: 3D Universal Studios)
   T3A:  T Infinity goes back in time to kill a young and old John Connor (Terminator: Revolution)
1997
    T1 / T2 (before them changing the future): Judgment Day (original) August 29th. Skynet attacks Russia and Russia counterattacks causing nuclear war/fallout (Terminator, T2: Judgment Day)
    T3: Sarah Connor dies of cancer (T3: Rise of the Machines)

1998
   T1B: T800 named D800L (male) and T800 named D810X (female) sent back to target John as a kid in 1998 while living in Death Valley.

1999
   Sarah Connor Chronicles start and jump forward 8 years at the end of episode 1 (Sarah Connor Chronicles)
   T1B: On New Year's Eve Sarah and John Connor are attacked by a T-800 in New York City. John Connor defeats it by throwing it off the Empire State Building then Sarah Connor uses a surgical laser to destroy it (T: The Dark Years/ T: Omnibus Vol 2)

2000s

2003
   T4: Marcus Wright volunteers for Cyberdyne program while in jail (T4: Salvation)
   T4: Events from Terminator Salvation: Cold War Novel including back stories of General Ashdown and General Losenko.

2004
   T3: Movie: Events of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (T3: Rise of the Machines)
   T3: New Judgement Day: July 24, 2004 (T3: Rise of the Machines)
   T4: T4 events -New Judgement Day- July 20th (T4: Salvation)
   ALL: Kyle Reese born

2007
  Events of Sarah Connor Chronicles (Sarah Connor Chronicles)
  T3A: Kate Brewster dies while in Crystal Peak, Nevada fallout shelter from unknown cause (T: Infinity)

2009
       T3A: July 17, John Connor leaves fallout shelter at Crystal Peak, Nevada to begin his fight against the machines.  Meets up with Bob T-800 from unknown date in the future, a young Kyle Reese and a group of fighters.  They form the beginning of the resistance and attack a Skynet facility in Denver.  Bob is ultimately destroyed by T-Infinity, who then disappears without killing John (T: Infinity)

Late 2000s 
    T1/T2: Events of Terminator: Resistance VG (T: Resistance VG)

2010s

2014 
     T5: T-3000 version of John Connor sent back to help build Genisys (T5: Genisys)

2015

  T1C: Resistance fighter escapes from prison camp and joins with John Connor's Resistance.  While the fighter is assaulting Skynet's core, the resistance HQ is attacked killing both Kyle Reese and John Connor.  The lone resistance fighter uploads a virus into Skynet, who has been using the Temporal Data Transmitting System (TDTS) to send code back in time to an earlier version of itself thus speeding up its capability and abilities.  The virus created by resistance fighter Dr. Hanover, infects Skynet and thus infecting the earlier version of itself causing Judgement Day to cease to exist and creating a peaceful 2015 (T: Future Shock VG)


       T3A: T-Infinity jumps to 2015 to target Tara Connor (T: Infinity and T: Revolution)

2016
   T4: Events of Terminator Machinima (T: Machinima)
   T4: Events of Terminator: Salvation: VG (T: Salvation VG)
   T4: Events of Terminator Salvation Roller Coaster
2017    
     T5: Events of Terminator 5: Genisys (Terminator 5)
     T5: New Judgement Day 2017 (Terminator 5)
2018
   T4: Events of Terminator Salvation Comic along with novels From the Ashes and Cold War.
    T4: Events of Terminator 4: Salvation including T-800 developed almost a decade ahead of original timeline (T4: Salvation)
          John Connor gets his signature scars (T4: Salvation)
2019
      T6: Events of Terminator 6: Dark Fate (Terminator 6)

2020s

Undetermined year in late 2010s or 2020s   
     Events of Terminator: Salvation Arcade
2026
    T2: T-800 Model 101 reprogrammed to protect John Connor (T2: Judgment Day)

2027
    T1:  Kyle Reese officially assigned under John Connor (Terminator)

    T2C: May 27: Events of Terminator Dawn of Fate (T: Dawn of Fate VG)
        Skynet uses teleportation just like time machine to move models around battlefield (T: Dawn of Fate VG)
2029
   T1A: Random mission resulting in all dead plus a terminator when a girl suicide's herself (T: Suicide Run / T: Omnibus Vol 2)

ALL: Resistance and Skynet begin using Time Displacement Equipment (TDE)
   T1: Kyle Reese goes back 84 (Terminator)
   T1: T-800 goes back to 84 (Terminator)
   T1A: Female 800 goes back to 84 (T: One Shot / T: Omnibus Vol 1)
   T1A: Ellis Ruggles goes back to 55 to protect Sarah’s birth with Fazer inside him (T: One Shot / T: Omnibus Vol 1)
   T2: 800 and 1000 go back (T2: Judgment Day)
   T2A: John sends back T900 Cameron to protect self  (Sarah Connor Chronicles)
   T5: Kyle Reese, John Connor go back with John infected by T-5000 (T5: Genisys)
   T1A: D800L and D810X sent back to target John as a kid in 1998 (T: Death Valley / T: Omnibus Vol 2)
   T2B: Old Kyle Reese is found as a prisoner in 2029 (T: 2029-1984)
       Resistance fighter Ben goes back to rescue him after the events of Terminator (T: 2029-1984)
   T2: Events of T2 Battle Across Time (T2: Battle Across Time: 3D Universal Studios)
   T2: Events of Terminator 2 Arcade Game
+ 3 months after TDE first used
   T1A: 5x go back (Mary +4)
        3xT800s, plus cyborg plus human weapons pouch (Koufaks)(T: Tempest / T: Omnibus Vol 1)
    T1A: Female terminator returns (T: Secondary Objectives / T: Omnibus Vol 1)
    T1A: 4x resistance return and blow up time equipment (T: The Enemy Within / T: Omnibus Vol 1)

Spring 2029
       TS 300 operational (not lifelike 800s with less weight, ceramic ends that looks more like bone and better personalities(T: Hunters and Killers / T: Omnibus Vol 2)
        MIR- Soviet Skynet improved with Skynets help. If skynet is destroyed MIR will take over. Resistance gets control of sun with nukes at the end after battling multiple infiltrator terminators(T: Hunters and Killers / T: Omnibus Vol 2)

2030s

2030
       T1B: Skynet has been capturing humans and inserting false memories into their brains. Jon Norden (from T: Death Valley / T: Omnibus Vol 2) is part of the resistance, hates the machine but also dislikes John Connor because he is the reason his parent's were killed back in 1998 (T: The Dark Years/ T: Omnibus Vol 2)

2031
    T1: John Connor and his resistance fighters attack key Skynet locations including their central processing unit in Thunder Mountain Nevada, a NORAD base.  The Technodyne created Skynet is ultimately destroyed by John Connor thus winning the war for the humans. (T: Burning Earth)

2032
      T3: John Connor dies in 2032 by the hands of a T-850 (T3: Rise of the Machines

2033
     T3: TX Goes back (T3: Rise of the Machines and T: T3: Redemption VG))
     T3: Kate Brewster (Connor) sends back T-850 to protect her and John after the T-850 fights his way through various Skynet controlled areas (T3: Rise of the Machines and T: T3: Redemption VG))
    T3A: T-Infinity has plans to jump to various points in time including 1984, 1995, 2004 and 2009 to ensure that Skynet is built and ultimately wins.  On board TDE on the T-Infinity allows it to time hop with the goal of timeline restoration in favor of Skynet (T: Infinity)

2040s

2042
     T6: Grace sent back through time to T6's 2019 (T6: Dark Fate)

2043
    T1D: Resistance fighter Florence Langer sent back to kill RoboCop aka Alex Murphy since his brain is what brings Skynet to sentience.  Three terminators are sent back to ensure RoboCop's safety and a fourth child Terminator along with robotic dog sent back to adjust timeline alterations (T: RoboCop versus Terminator

2044+
   T1D: RoboCop's mind hidden in Skynet emerges to fight the Terminators and destroys Skynet, ultimately restoring a peaceful timeline. (T: RoboCop versus Terminator)
 

Still confused?

Here's a simplified version of the timelines taking into account the first two Terminator movies only.
 

This is a Terminator and associated properties fan site.  Videos and pictures are property of the original content producer.